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Fire call led to drug, sex battery case

Early Thursday, emergency operators received a call: An 18-year-old woman said she had just fled from her flaming car on Ridge Road.

Pasco County sheriff's deputies arrived and found her car was fine. It had never been on fire. But the woman was high on LSD.

After asking her some questions, their case quickly turned into a sexual battery investigation, which was turned over to New Port Richey Police.

Police say Joseph Patrick Pavan, 39, of Tennessee, had recently arrived in town and on Wednesday night he called the 18-year-old woman. She came to his room at the Travel Inn, 7532 U.S. 19, where they snorted cocaine and smoked marijuana, police said.

Then Pavan suggested she try three drops of this other drug, police said.

He said, "just trust me," according to New Port Richey Detective Steve Kostas.

He put the drops under the woman's tongue, police said.

She told police the next thing she remembered she was naked in the motel room shower, alone. But police say that was after Pavan had her perform oral sex on him in the shower.

When the woman came out of the bathroom, Pavan still was in the room, police said. She pushed past him and drove away.

Pavan faces charges of sexual battery, possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, possession of opium and possession of LSD, police said.

Police said they found the drugs in Pavan's 2002 Camaro. He was held Friday at county jail in Land O'Lakes in lieu of $45,000 bail.

_ Ryan Davis is the police reporter in Pasco County. He can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6245 or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6245. His e-mail address is